all that you can be...in this video game replica of
the army. by Cole Smith
15 , 2005 - America's
Army: Rise of a Soldier is about as authentic a military
game as you can get. In some respects you might not
even consider it a game since it was originally developed
for the U.S. Army as a recruiting tool. It chronicles
the training of soldier and his rise through the ranks
from rifleman to commander. The situations are realistic
as are the weapons, placing this game behind sim lines.
really isn't much of a story to Rise of a Soldier.
You're basically living it. Starting as a grunt in
basic training you will have to earn your promotions
by completing the various missions in each class level.
Missions range from escort to recon. You'll never
do the same thing twice as you'll constantly be evolving
as you rise through the ranks. RPG elements allow
you to earn skill points which can be assigned to
different traits such as marksmanship, health, honor
can place the points where you want but if you're
not sure what to do there's an interface that will
help distribute the them depending on what classification
you're most interested in. If you want to be a medic
there will be more points allotted to the health category.
If you want to be an excellent marksman most of your
points will go towards marksmanship. This may seem
obvious but there are other areas where your points
will serve you well that may not seem so obvious.
To improve your marksmanship for example you should
also level-up your honor. You may wonder why being
honorable would affect your aiming skills but it does
have direct bearing on it.
skills you choose to develop will not only affect
your character but they can influence your entire
squad. When you start the game you will find that
your aiming leaves a lot to be desired. This is evident
in the way that your character shakes as he aims,
showing an overall lack of confidence. This will eventually
remedy itself through experience but it can start
all over again when under attack by enemies. A team
leader with good leadership skills and honor will
be able to calm his subordinates as they can place
their trust in him. This calming allows the team to
react faster and shoot more accurately.
skill-leveling feature is better displayed on the
online mode where you have different players messing
with their attributes in different combinations. You
can't import your leveled-up characters from the off-line
version but the process is much faster and you can
experiment with it more.
Infantryman is the entry-level position in the career
of a soldier. He goes through basic training and learns
how to operate a rifle. The rifleman's tasks are some
of the most dangerous. The army doesn't want to sacrifice
officers that have extensive training and experience.
The riflemen are expendable. They will be on the front
lines, opening doors and flushing out the enemy in
urban combat. They will be sitting in foxholes in
the middle of the forest and exchanging gunfire in
every conceivable location, day and night. They must
also follow the orders of the team leader to the letter
- even if it means certain death.
you will train as a sniper, automatic rifleman, heavy
weapons specialist, team leader, ranger and ultimately
as a member of the Special Forces. The weapons you
will encounter are very realistically presented. These
are not your standard arcade guns. You can't even
use the machinegun properly unless it's on the bipod
and you're lying down. With the sniper rifle you'll
be able to zoom in on the enemy but you have to expect
a certain amount of float until you gain more skill.
You can increase your accuracy by compensating with
the R stick to help hold it steady. It also helps
to lie prone so that you can better support your weapon.
add more realism, the scopes are not outfitted with
night-vision technology. You will be able to use night-vision
goggles but only to locate the enemy and follow the
laser sights of your weapon. Keep in mind that the
enemy can also see your laser sight if they are using
night-vision goggles and can pinpoint your location.
There are also plenty of low light situations where
night-vision goggles are useless. I would probably
complain about the poor visibility if this were just
an arcade shooter but since this is replicating real-life
conditions one must accept the challenges the way
they're presented. When you're in a war not all conditions
are going to be ideal.
physical condition, state of mind and environmental
conditions will affect your abilities. You will be
dragged down if you're tired or injured. Your morale
and the morale of your unit will help or hinder your
progress. Weather conditions will also determine how
your skills play out in the field. Overall, a realistic
cause-and-effect exchange permeates the gameplay keeping
us mindful of all the various influences.
and weather conditions run the gamut from arid deserts
to snow-covered towns. The urban areas tend to be
arranged not unlike the corridors of Doom with walls,
fences, lanes and stairs forcing you down a path.
The biggest problem is the limited view. The camera
can be moved in virtually any direction but the threats
come from the sides, above and below and you need
to see the whole area at once so that you can react
immediately. Taking the time to pan the camera up
a stairwell can cost you dearly. It would be better
if there was an instant pull back that allowed you
to get the full perspective of the area.
to 16 players can take part in the online war with
eight to a team. Each player is assigned to a specific
class such as infantryman, sniper, team leader and
so on. Your character levels-up much like he does
in the single-player campaign. If you're new to the
game you'll have to start as a grunt and work your
way up. You can't be a team leader until you acquire
a certain amount of points. You will have a vested
interest in staying alive because you've only got
one life and if you get killed you might have a long
wait ahead of you before you can get into another
streamline communications the Situation Awareness
Map was created which is essentially an enemy radar.
Once a member of your unit spots an enemy, that position
is displayed on the map for all to see. It just cuts
down on redundant communication since this is obviously
something that would be communicated back to the unit
- unless of course the batteries are getting weak.
Fortunately there are some elements of reality we
don't have to deal with.
is stressed as the abilities of the different classes
are used in true RPG fashion to achieve different
results. Automatic riflemen will cover infantry and
snipers looking to gain better vantage-points. Medics
will tend to the wounded and the leaders will size
up each situation and issue commands. There is plenty
of action to be had but there's a great deal of strategy
required so as to minimize the loss of life.
online experience is easy to get into and runs without
a hitch. If you don't mind playing this game on your
PC, it's actually available for free. Yes, free. The
catch is that you have to join the army afterwards.
Just kidding. This is a recruitment tool remember.
the game tends to look like a simulation. There isn't
much in the way of detail especially in the urban
areas that look more like movie sets rather than places
that were actually inhabited by human beings. There
is a decided lack of garbage, furnishings and accessories
that would make these places look lived in. The character
models are good but their movements are quirky. They
appear to skate and float rather than run. The music
in between missions is a little harsh, and you can
definitely see the propaganda at work with actual
videos of U.S. military operations and other more
subtle in-game innuendoes. I would expect this of
the free version but I would appreciate more neutrality
when I'm paying for it. Hey, I'm Canadian for crying
out loud. I can't join the American Army anyway.
a recruitement tool first and foremost there was a
lot of work put into the simulated gameplay that makes
this a game not to be ignored. If you're looking for
a realistic military experience this is the closest
you're going to get to boot camp without leaving mommy's
career mode: Create a soldier and guide him through
his career, from raw recruit to Special Forces team
realism: Special Forces operatives assisted the
game designers to ensure the highest level of authenticity.
Army license: Authentic weapons, equipment, and
combat situations come straight from Army experts.
gameplay: No linear campaign design, so you're free
to choose your own career path.
military action: Quick reflexes, smart tactics,
and the use of teamwork are mandatory to succeed
in Army missions.
support: Create and develop an online character
in Xbox Live® career mode.